Hitting the road: Ence’s 30

Clara Morse

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Us LASA students like to count. It’s a compulsion, an irresistible force of habit — five AP tests, six out of seven questions right, ten days until the scholarship results come back, six practices a week, two hundred likes on Instagram, 85th percentile on the test, two weeks until graduation. GPA is calculated to the thousandth and ten-thousandth decimal place. We know where we stand.

This tendency to count bleeds into the fabric of daily life. Time is very countable, so every fifteen-minute increment can feel documented, pre-scheduled, responsibilities so tight on the to-do list I have found myself writing down “eat dinner” and “breathe” so I don’t forget. Even lunch’s’ fifty five minutes can be chopped up into time to eat and do homework and hang out with friends and go to club meetings. Twenty-four hours a day by 180 school days a year by four years — it adds up pretty quickly.

So it is understandable that when I look to sum up my LASA experience, I turn first to numbers. After all, what more is adolescence than 60 hours of standardized testing, two and a half hours on the bus daily; seven hours max of nightly sleep. As the pressure picks up, the draw of the numbers becomes almost irresistible. Quantifying life has benefits, in efficiency and volume and satisfaction — you know you’re using your time in the “right” way, and you’re doing more things than you thought you could. Time off seems like time wasted.

But in reality, time off is not time wasted, and that is where quantifying has its drawbacks. It is difficult to be a human person without time to chill and rest and decide what you want to do with your day. To an extent, the numbers take the joy of hanging out with friends or winning a race or crushing an essay.

One of the only things that kept me sane in the number crunch was embracing things that were a little trickier to put numbers on, where the results weren’t the point. So here’s my Token Senior Advice: pick up something you like to do even though you’re bad at it, something that’s not going to end up on your resume. And dedicate time to it. I picked up puzzles, which I am not great at. On weekends, instead of re-re-re-reviewing my SAT prep, I’d lay out the thousand pieces and, over the course of a couple months, sort and organize and plan them, put the puzzle together. This spring, I picked up watching hockey for no particular reason. It is useful to have some things in your life that are not meant to be counted.